Inspired by the figure of the shaman, which Joseph Beuys cultivated throughout his life, this book explores contemporary “technoshamanistic” positions in art. In addition to viewing shamanism itself as a form of technology, these approaches use (speculative) technology as a way of discovering shamanic powers. Contemporary artists are updating Beuys’s strategies and themes to make them fit for the digital age, deploying many of the same tropes, which acquired iconic status in Beuys’s oeuvre, aimed at healing and transforming society, cultivating a spiritual approach to the environment, and subverting power structures and the logic of capitalism. The positions introduced here combine aspects that appear diametrically opposed: technology and shamanism, technical progress and esotericism, rational modernism and the mystical tradition. Today’s artistic alchemists are engaged in a quest for “rare-earth elements” and metals, a fusion of the environment, technology, and artificial intelligence, or a technical/mythological description of the cosmos.
Including works by: Morehshin Allahyari, Joseph Beuys, Mariechen Danz, Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy, Lucile Olympe Haute, knowbotiq, Sahej Rahal, Tabita Rezaire, Jana Kerima Stolzer & Lex Rütten, Transformella (aLifveForm fed and cared for by JP Raether), Suzanne Treister, Anton Vidokle.